NewsMontana and Regional News


Fans travel huge distances to attend Class C Basketball Tournament

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Posted at 2:04 PM, Mar 10, 2024

GREAT FALLS — The Class C Basketball Tournament has officially come to a close and the 2023-24 champions have been crowned. Congratulations are in order for the Box Elder Boys and the (back-to-back) Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale Girls on their feats.

Now that the dust has settled, teams must pack up and make the long trips back to their proud communities. In some cases, those trips feel more like marathons.

For two of the competing teams this year, the Lustre Christian Lions and the Plentywood Wildcats, the journey is perhaps the most impressive of all. Both communities are closer to the North Dakota border than the site of the tournament in Great Falls.

The community of Lustre is 325 miles away and Plentywood is a whopping 401 miles from Great Falls. For fans and students, making the trip is a no-brainer.

“You don’t even think about it,” says Plentywood Wildcats fans, Janelle Steinberg. “You just follow your team.”

“This all just to support the team, you know, and it's really cool because it's important to the community,” says Lustre Christian student, Ifeanyi Aniaei.

For reference, to compete in the tournament, the schools traveled roughly the same distance as the entire width of Colorado. The combined round-trip distance for both teams set at 1,452 miles.

For Plentywood, they split their trip down across two days.

“It gets to be a challenge sometimes with, you know, stops for bathroom breaks. The day we came down, we stopped in Havre for a basketball practice just to break it up,” says Plentywood’s bus driver Casey Osksa.

But it’s not every year these towns and incorporated communities are duking it out for state bragging rights. To see the sheer number of fans who make the long haul is a true testament to the support they receive.